It took a first-round pick for Harvin and Cooks. A second-round selection was needed for Watkins, and a third-rounder was required for Benjamin and Stills. Perhaps the Ravens give up second- and sixth-round picks for Landry and a fourth-rounder. Maybe Baltimore only trades a third-round pick because it’s known Miami will be over the cap if the Dolphins keep his $16 million franchise tag on the books by March 14.
The next question is what will it take to strike a deal with Landry. The Miami Herald reported in January that it was believed Landry was seeking a deal that averaged $14.5 million like what Green Bay’s Davante Adams recently received. But because Landry has less leverage than if he was an unrestricted free agent, the Ravens could try to work out a deal that averages $13 million per season (like Alshon Jeffery) but would guarantee Landry more than his tag and lower his cap number to a little over $4 million in the first year.
Trading away a second and sixth round pick for a fourth rounder and the right to negotiate a massive long term contract would be a steep price to pay for the slot receiver. Furthermore, a contract structure designed with a $4 million cap hit in year one despite a $13 million average annual value would be completely irresponsible. Jarvis Landry alone will not solve the Ravens personnel issues, and devoting all of these resources to him would make it difficult for the team to satisfactorily upgrade other areas.
“Number two: It takes a long time for these wideouts to develop. They are not used to quality press coverage, and they are not used to the complexity of NFL defenses. Nelson Agholor was supposed to be a bust, but he got moved inside in year three and finally contributed to a degree. I look at this and say what do we learn from this and apply to this year’s draft class. I want to figure out Courtland Sutton, the big kid from SMU. It looks to me like the bigger guys without any injury issues have been able to contribute quickly. Go back and take a look and see if it holds out. I think [Alabama’s] Calvin Ridley and [Texas A&M’s] Christian Kirk are really good route runners. It will be interesting to see what they run. You can’t bang the table for any one guy that is going to come out and catch 60 balls next year. What are we going to see at the combine? I’m intrigued by that.”
Mayock makes a fair point - plug and play receivers have been few and far between. Calvin Ridley appears to be the consensus top wideout in the draft class. It will be interesting to see if another receiver emerges as a bonafide first round talent at the NFL scouting combine.
As often is the case, the actual salary cap likely will exceed those projections.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the cap will at least be $178 million. It also could exceed $179 million.
The cap has been experiencing significant growth in recent years, even with a decline in TV ratings. With the Thursday night broadcast package spiking from $450 million to at least $550 million annually as of 2018, the increases likely will continue.
The Ravens stand to benefit from this expected salary cap increase more than other teams who already have plenty of space at their disposal. The other side of this coin is that explosive salary cap growth leads to skyrocketing contracts for top players. Many valuable free agents will continue to be ‘overpaid’ according to Ravens standards.
Looking back at current Ravens combine performances - Sage Morander
While the combine is welcomed football-related viewing in the drought of the offseason, the results are far from a strong indicator of future NFL success. The combine best serves as an opportunity for lower profile players to generate buzz for themselves and potentially increase their draft stock. As evident from just a sampling of Baltimore’s stars, an average to subpar combine outing does not necessarily eliminate players from a team’s big board either.
Surely performances with pads on against live competition is a better gauge of a player’s ability than their testing at the combine. Nonetheless, there is value in comparing prospects side by side in a controlled setting. Results from the combine are best utilized as a way to confirm what has already been observed on game tape.